For the 2017 tournament trail, the North Central Region and the North East Region elected to conduct a joint Championship Tournament, held on Lake Richland Chambers on October 21 and 22, 2017, with tournament headquarters set up at Oak Cove Marina. By doing so, the Regions were able to increase the overall payouts to the tournament winners, paying Places 1-4 on both the Boater and Co-Angler side. Boaters were vying for 5 fish per day, and Co-Anglers were able to bring 3 fish per day to the scales. The weather set up nicely for Day 1, and the tournament was kicked off with playing and tribute to our National Anthem, and a prayer conducted by Jason Geesey, North East Region Director – 2015-2017. The weather was perfect on Day 1 with light winds, cool mornings, and warming trends towards the afternoon. Pairings were conducted and distributed by website postings, email communication, and text messaging. It was a bit more work on the Tournament Directors, but the effort paid off and really helped ease the normal necessity of a pairings meeting, which was appreciated by all.
As the anglers, all left the take off in numerical order and were off for Day 1 of the tournament action. Early reports had fish being targeted relatively shallow, around docks and submerged shoreline cover. At the weigh in – several large fish were brought to the scales, and several tournament limits as well, proving that Richland Chambers has definitely been on the rebound as a fishery. Dalton Pratt, NE Region Boater had the Day 1 lead with 19.66 pounds, with several 17 lbs + bags closely followed. Jason Geesey, NE Region Co-Angler brought a hefty 3-fish limit to the scales clearly topping all other co-anglers with a 16.84 total. Both Chandler Stewart and Joseph Hardy, NC Region Boaters were within 2 ounces of each other, and the battle was set for that State Team spot for the next day. Lewis Decker, NC Region Co-Angler brought in a 3-fish limit topping other NC Region Co-Anglers weighing 9.01. Todd Guernsey, NE Region Boater held the Big Bass with 8.32 lbs. Brian Beeson, NC Region Boater had the next largest Big Bass with 7.87 lbs.
Day 2 action saw a huge front, and storm roll into the area overnight and it was extremely windy, lightening, and thunder near just before daylight. By safe light, the wind, and bad weather had subsided and we were able to take off on time, and get the Day rolling. Day 2 was definitely affected by the weather storm, as the fish did not cooperate as much. The leader board got shook up a bit after the 3 pm weigh in, as Joseph Hardy, NC Region Boater brought in another solid limit of fish, bringing his 2-day total to 32.50 lbs, and claiming the NC Region Boater State Team position. Jon Harshbarger, NE Region Boater brought into the scales Day 2 heavy weight of 18.22 lbs., boosting his total tournament sack to 30.55 lbs, and claiming the NE Region Boater State Team position. Chris Brewton, NC Region Boater held firm and barely lost out his bid to claim a spot on the State Team, bringing in a tournament total of 30.55. Jason Geesey, NE Region Co-Angler brought a small limit to the scales on Day 2, which brought his tournament total to 22.69, just nudging out Jose Ramos, NE Region Co-Angler for the NE Region State Team Co-Angler position. Lewis Decker was successful in bringing another 3-fish limit to the scales, and brought his tournament total to 13.90, claiming the NC Region State Team Co-Angler position.
Overall, it was a great turnout – folks from both Regions were able to get to know each other a bit better, the payouts were increased by the dual participation, and the one venue allowed us to leverage the participation promise to the local Marina. We are looking forward to another successful Texas BASS Nation Tournament Trail season in 2018!
Congratulations to the State Team winners!
- Joseph Hardy – HOT BASS Assassins / North Central Region
- Jon Harshbarger – Century Bass Club / North East Region
- Jason Geesey – Red Oak Bass Club / North East Region
- Lewis Decker – Lucky Strike Bass Club / North Central Region
These folks move on to compete at the next level within BASSMASTER, with an opportunity to reach the BASSMASTER Classic! State Team incentives from the BASSMASTER sponsors are also very beneficial to the winners. Read more here in order for you to reach high: http://www.texasbassonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016_10_6_BassNationPathToClassic.pdf
If you are interested in competing for your shot at the BASSMASTER Classic, just contact your local Regional Director http://www.texasbassonline.com/directors and the tournament season will get started again in early 2018. There are many opportunities to reach this within Texas BASS Nation, whether you compete at the Region level, the Club level, or the Team Trail – they all are designed to move anglers to the path of success. Boaters are welcome and Co-Anglers are welcomed. Come and enjoy competing in a friendly, but competitive culture.
Elton D. Brock
Director – North Central Region
Texas BASS Nation